As rhetoric over the judicial reforms intensified over the weekend, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman accused the opposition and coalition of colluding to have an opposition member appointed to the Judicial Selection Committee.
Liberman claimed that senior Likud officials told him that it was Shas Knesset members who were among the at least five coalition members who voted to appoint Yesh Atid MK Karine Elharrar to the judicial selection committee on Wednesday, in full coordination with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Shas chairman Arye Deri, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid and National Unity head Benny Gantz.
Netanyahu and Deri allegedly sought to avoid a public uproar over no opposition member being appointed to the Judicial Selection Committee in accordance with tradition and ongoing sensitivities about the independence of the judiciary.
Netanyahu also wished to freeze the judicial reforms to mollify the US and anti-reform protesters, said Liberman. He said Deri wanted the reform negotiations at the President’s Residence to continue so that he could insert provisions that would allow him to return to the government.
For their parts, Lapid and Gantz had wanted to demonstrate a victory for the opposition factions, said Liberman.
“Gantz and Lapid raised a white flag, and had a liquidation sale of the liberal public in the State of Israel,” said Liberman.
Liberman said the opposition’s signals about suspending talks have been a bluff.
Political tensions also extended to Tuesday’s Bar Association election, which will impact the appointment of Bar representatives for the Judicial Selection Committee.
Movement for Quality of Government head Eliad Shraga at a Saturday Kiryat Gat protest claimed that Netanyahu was seeking to control the selection of Bar representatives through the new Bar head. Shraga blasted controversial candidate Efi Nave as a convicted felon who had accepted sex bribes to help candidates become judges. Shas MK Erez Malul on Friday had called on his fellow party members to throw their support behind Nave.
As protests continued for the 24th week on Saturday night at around 150 different locations across the country, Lapid issued a statement saying that people in the coalition heard the voices of the demonstrators and understood that the reforms were tearing the nation apart. On Thursday, Lapid had said that there had been no promises for the MKs that had voted for Elharrar and they had done so out of “decency.”
Justice Minister Levin pledges to pass reform
Protester organizers on Saturday called for Netanyahu to fire Justice Minister Yariv Levin, whom they said was aggravating divisions and had "declared war against Israeli democracy" in his statements on Friday on passing reform legislation. National Unity MK Chili Tropper said that Levin should focus on reuniting Israelis.
"At the end of a difficult week, I am more determined than ever to continue and do everything to pass the necessary reforms to fix the justice system."Justice Minister Yariv Levin
“Israel now needs broad agreements and a little quiet, not a unilateral legal revolution,” said Tropper.
Levin wrote on Facebook on Friday that “at the end of a difficult week, I am more determined than ever to continue and do everything to pass the necessary reforms to fix the justice system. Thank you all for the important support in the steps I am making for a fair justice system.”
Transportation Minister Miri Regev also called for the continuation of reform legislation in a Saturday Meet the Press interview, in which she claimed that Lapid and Gantz worked for former prime minister Ehud Barak.
“Faith has been lost in the talks at the President’s Residence, we need to continue the reform,” said Regev.
Rhetoric intensified beyond calls for job terminations and abandoning negotiations on Friday when Likud MK Nissim Vaturi called for the execution of pilots who declined to attend training as a form of protest, Haaretz reported.
Protesters claiming to represent special forces veterans and officers bashed Netanyahu on Saturday for failing to condemn the deputy Knesset speaker’s statements. Gantz was castigated as focusing on polling rather than on being proper opposition.
The military veteran protesters said that they had served Israel and risked their lives for many years, but were being called treasonous.
“It turns out that we have reached the fun part of the coup, where they will try to execute us,” the protest group said in a statement. “Go ahead and try.”
Political tensions also extended to Tuesday's Bar Association election, which will impact the appointment of Bar representatives for the Judicial Selection Committee.
Movement for Quality of Government head Dr. Eliad Shraga at a Saturday Kiryat Gat protest claimed that Netanyahu was seeking to control the selection of Bar representatives through the new Bar head. Shraga blasted controversial candidate Efi Nave as a convicted felon who had accepted sex bribes for support in becoming judges. Shas MK Erez Malul on Friday had called on his fellow party members to throw their support behind Nave.